The Commonwealth Bank is under fire (again).
This time it’s because CHOICE magazine called for the CBA’s Dollarmites school banking program to be banned.
(For the record, I’ve been banging on about this issue for the best part of a decade, including two years ago when I fronted a Senate Inquiry into Banking and argued that Dollarmites should be banned.)
Anyway, CHOICE said that Dollarmites is essentially a marketing scheme that pays schools kickbacks so they can weasel their way into classrooms and flog their products.
The CBA also gets to promote their own special North Korean-style financial education in the classroom, complete with corporate-collared cartoon mascots like ‘Cred’ — short for credit card — who has the tagline ‘Cred’s a cool dude’.
In response, the CBA has said they’re ‘holding a review’ into the program.
Yet, as the honourable John Howard will attest, you never hold a review unless you already know the outcome.
Mark my words, the CBA has absolutely no intention of giving up Dollarmites.
That’s because it is, quite literally, the most successful marketing campaign in Australian history: over the past 85 years, millions of Aussie kids have innocently been siphoned into the bank’s marketing funnel. Many of them got credit cards when they turned 18, and became ‘cool dudes’.
As a sign of just how strong the Dollarmites program is, today almost half the Aussie population open their first account with the CBA. Westpac, though, are trying to get the generational jump on the CBA — by focusing on the foetus, with their recently released ‘Bump Account’ (I promise you I am not making this up).
And it’s rumoured that ANZ will soon launch a ‘Sperm Account’ that targets responsible tadpoles who don’t want to be caught without ATM access during the fertility process. (Okay, so I made that one up. But don’t be surprised if, a decade from now, CHOICE is calling for the banning of the Sperm Account).
So if the CBA is never going to voluntarily get out of schools, what can we do?
If you ask me, we need a parent-led revolution. Starting with this question …
Tread Your Own Path!
Talking kids and money with Jenny Marchant on ABC Mornings
I was on the air last week with Jenny Marchant from ABC Mornings discussing teaching kids about money.
Have a listen below if you missed it.